Updated May 14 2015
Okay so first things first, this game is most definitely not finished, it really isn't, and the lack of some very glaring things reflects that.
But before I even cover it let's look at what this game is most definitely not: It is not MVA Unleashed, Untamed, Reflex or Alive. (Although to be fair, I never played Alive all that much on account of having stopped buying PS3 and XBox Games by 2011, not that it had a lot to offer in the first place). I have however played many hours of both Unleashed and Reflex, at least enough to master the Reflex system pretty well.
Let's also further establish that the nuances required to play this game literally require a controller, if you are trying to use anything else other than a bike prop controller from an arcade, you're honestly crazy. You cannot play this with a mouse and keyboard, (although to date the game does lack support for direct input controllers, probably because XInput is taking over and is easy to code as well as being supported on most newer controllers). You have no Rider reflex on keyboard.
Okay now that that's been established... the actual gameplay.
Well it's clearly a beta, a couple features such as whips (which you can still do they just don't register as a stunt) are missing, and the graphics settings cannot currently be changed (with the exception of a full screen toggle and a resolution control). The number of different events, tracks are few, (although apparently coming in the full version), and there is no free true roam mode.
That said, what is there is all the core functionality, albeit with a few changes, some you may welcome, others.... not so much.
The Reflex system IS in this game, but if the last game you played was Reflex, well it handles a little differently, so be prepared. The rider control influences the bike a lot more in turns, you can easily accidentally 180 degree turn your bike if you aren't careful, (yes I did that first corner I did, haven't done it again so far). Other than that, the responsiveness is a lot better and feels a lot more like your rider has weight. It does make the physics system a little wonky if you ignore the rider control though, as the bike feels a lot more like a brick, Rainbow has done a wonderful job of weighting these systems together and the rider and bike feel separate and together at the same time (unlike Reflex where they often felt more separate than anything else).
All the vehicle customization is still there, Rider customization also exists, although chest protectors don't exist but skin tone is now a thing. Changing off stock parts does change the performance of the bike so far, although the fine tune from Reflex is not there, (at least that I've noticed).
The AI is no longer crashing into you, it actually drives like it isn't trying to commit a murder suicide constantly. Other than that, it's no more easy or difficult, you just won't be forcibly wiped out by the AI every 10 secs if you get stuck in the group.
Your Bike is also more sturdy now, or at least it feels more sturdy, and wiping out isn't quite as easy unless you throw the bike and rider hard in one direction or ram your front wheel into the ground when landing. The actual Reflex (QTE to stay on the bike from Reflex game) is gone making some landings that seem like they should throw you off strange when they would have thrown the QTE to recover in your face before, you now have to recover (or break your riders neck) with your own decisions, the bike will not auto-recover via magically Analog stick flick anymore.
And finally we also see the return of the 50cc class. That's random but it's so fun.
- The Reflex system, after a minor adjustment period, feels a lot better
- The core gameplay is still there, it's more nuanced though now
- Bike customization affects performance to a degree
- Your placement is still determined more by the lines you picked and your ability to control the bike than your ability to out run the AI with blind speed. In fact, blind speed will lose the race a lot of the time, even on rookie.
- The Gameplay is a bit more nuanced and weighted towards the rider than before. As such it feels very clunky if you ignore the rider controls. I had no problems with feeling it out, but apparently I'm in the minority here (hence why it's a pro and a con technically)
-* Full Free Roam is missing
-* Fine tuning is gone
-* Real-Time Terrain Deformation is missing
* - Thing I suspect are missing due to Early Access more than anything else. I've been taking them out of the list as they are added.
Overall 7/10 It's good, but nothing special yet. I have hopes for this game, but I wouldn't recommend this as a place to start in the franchise.